In Recipe


Yeah I know, Light Lagers are the favorite target of beer snobs. The truth is, they could be considered the most popular session beers in the world. I'm not opposed to a nice light refreshing Lager every once in a while so I figured I'd give it a shot and try and brew one.

Technically speaking there's really no reason to homebrew a light lager except for the challenge. They're readily available & you can literally buy them cheaper than you can homebrew them. 

For the first attempt, I wanted to keep it as close to the BJCP guidelines as possible. I went with the traditional 6-Row malt instead of the much more popular 2-Row variety for authenticity. Taste-wise they're pretty similar. A lot of people will describe the flavor of 6-Row as having a more pronounced "grain" flavor in comparison to 2-Row. This seems to be a pretty fair description from my experience. Also the extra enzymes in the 6-Row will help convert the starches in the corn, which does not contain any enzymes. I usually use rice in my lagers instead because I like the neutral flavor it gives to the beer but again corn is more traditional. 'Murica.

As with all session beers, the generally low alcohol/malt/hop flavor will allow any flaw to come out very easily. It's even more true for light lagers. Drinkability is also a key component of the style and the low flavors mixed with a light body make for a drink you can, well drink a lot of. You want the beer to finish dry but not so dry it becomes overly thin. I chose to use my favorite Lager yeast, the German Bock strain which attenuates well but still manages to leave behind the perception of a malty finish somehow. 

Light American Lager (6 Gallons, ~80% Eff, Tinseth)

OG: 1.038
IBU: 10
ABV: 3.8%
SRM: 3

7 lbs - Domestic 6-Row
2 lbs - Briess Flaked Maize
1.5 oz. - Rice Hulls (added to the last 15 minutes of the mash)
.5 oz - Czech Saaz (Whole Leaf) 4.2% @ First Wort Hop
.25 oz - Czech Saaz (Whole Leaf) 4.2% @ 30 Min

Yeast: 2 packs WLP833 German Bock (2 liter starter, no stir plate)

Mashed 60 min @ 151, 1.5 qt/lb
Fermented for one month at 50 degrees.
Stored for two months at 42 degrees.

Look - Light yellow/straw colored, clear
Aroma - Sweet malt, grains, corn, light earthy hops
Mouthfeel - Light-medium, finishes dry but with a nice malt presence, slight carbonic bite 
Taste - Sweet grains with a hint of corn, minimal spicy hop flavor lingers in the finish

Overall this is a highly drinkable beer & I'm really happy with how it came out. I was surprised how much it tasted like your run of the mill light lager, except with more flavor. The only criticism I have is that it probably has too much hop & malt flavor. I underestimated how little the malt flavor would mask the hop flavor. I'm used to brewing all malt beers for the most part. 6-Row isn't necessarily a flavorless malt but when you combine it with such a high percentage of corn, the amount of malt you taste drops off pretty substantially. 

This of course is the whole point of a light lager and contributes to its drinkability, so just keep it in mind. I would definitely drop the second hop addition and if I was to enter this into a competition I would probably enter it as a Standard American Lager, for fear of it being too flavorful, as weird as that sounds. 

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